Japanese Pop Culture: Connecting the World Through Manga and Anime Webinar at Japan Society on February 15, 2022

Japanese pop culture, symbolized by manga and anime, has become an increasingly significant part of the cultural conversation across the globe. Julia Mechler, manga creator and Content Production Group Manager at mixi, inc., and Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S., provide their insights into the current state of the industry, from pen to paper to screen, unpacking some of the latest trends and emerging technologies in Japanese pop culture. This webinar covers the historical development of manga and anime, the global influence of otaku culture, and what the future may bring inside and outside of Japan. Moderated by Bill Tsutsui, author of Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization, the fifth and final event in our five-part Living Traditions webinar series invites you on a journey into the sprawling Japanese pop culture grounded in a unique cultural DNA.

7–8:00 p.m. EST (4–5:00 p.m. PST)
Discussion and Q&A

Program Details: This is a free event, with advance registration required. The program will be live-streamed through YouTube, and registrants will receive the viewing link by email on the day before the event. Participants can submit questions through YouTube during the live stream. Register here.

Julia Mechler works for mixi, inc., a Japanese mobile gaming company, as a business development manager overseeing US-based teams that produce gaming app content. Julia also creates manga, publishing her first comic book, Hymn of the Teada, an Okinawan-themed comic book released by Heavy Metal Magazine. She began her career as a motion graphics designer at the Los Angeles branch of a Japanese anime/gaming company. Though her career focuses on digital entertainment, she is also an expert on Okinawan traditional performing arts, producing shows in Okinawa that mesh traditional dance and digital entertainment.

Roland Kelts is a Tokyo-based Japanese-American writer, journalist, scholar, and authority on Japanese and Western cultures. His best-selling first book, JAPANAMERICA, is considered the ultimate guide to Japan’s pop culture juggernaut — required reading for many Hollywood producers, artists and academics worldwide. His writing is published in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times, Zoetrope: All Story, The Times Literary Supplement and others, and he is a primary source on Japan for CNN, the BBC, NPR and NHK. He is also a columnist for The Japan Times, a contributing editor of MONKEY: New Writing from Japan, and a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo. He has given speeches on Japan for think tanks, embassies, universities, pop culture conventions and private events in the United States, Europe and Asia, including TED Talks and The World Economic Forum. Kelts has taught at The University of Tokyo, New York University, Columbia University and Sophia University. He has won several awards and fellowships, including a 2017 Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University.

William Tsutsui is an award-winning scholar and teacher, specializing in the economic, environmental, and cultural history of modern Japan. Educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton Universities, he has published widely on Japanese popular culture and globalization, Japan’s postwar “imagination of disaster,” and giant monster movies in Japan and the United States. His 2004 book Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters was called a “cult classic” by the New York Times and a Japanese translation was published by Chūkō sōsho. He has received Fulbright and Marshall Fellowships and was awarded the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000. He currently serves as President and Professor of History at Ottawa University, and previously taught at the University of Kansas, Southern Methodist University, and Hendrix College. In 2020-2021, he was the Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Visiting Professor at Harvard.

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